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Saturday 20 September 2014

Niall Byrne: Indie musicians are pointing way forward


Published 14/03/2014 | 14:30

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Sylvan Esso
Wallis Bird

Recently, two independent musicians, singer-songwriter Rob Pope and cellist Zoe Keating, shared the data they received from sales and streams of their music from various digital platforms and the figures made for an encouraging read.

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Keating's earnings from recorded music accounts for 60-70%, but she still managed to make over $75,000 (€54,027) from digital sales and over $6,000 (€4,322) from digital streams, last year.

While Keating's revenue from streams (Spotify, Youtube and Pandora mainly) was relatively low, Pope's numbers pointed a way forward for artists who are sceptical about streaming services. Over three years on Spotify, Pope has earned $334,636 (€241,069) from 57 million plays of his back catalogue.

About $200,000 (€144,072) of that is from last year and Sweden accounts for one million plays which is important. As the home of Spotify, the service has more users in Sweden, so it indicates where the money could come from if Spotify hits everyday mainstream usage worldwide. Since posting her figures, it's been pointed out that Keating could make more money from monetising Youtube views which she currently isn't doing. Pope meanwhile, has seen his tour dates sell out in advance in Scandinavia in particular, meaning higher fees, more people hearing his music and more sustainability.

If you're a musician who ascribes to the idea that there's no hope for a sustainable career, Pope and Keating's figures show you there's more opportunity than ever to benefit from your art, it just takes hard work and acumen.

Gone are the days when any old eejit could live the rock'n'roll lifestyle of late nights, inebriated days and relying on someone else to manage your career. Music has grown up. And you should too.

These days you need to work hard. To push yourself creatively. To write songs that connect. To take advantage of the fact that there are no gatekeepers out there telling you no and use the tools to build your own future. Keating and Pope are using these services to sustain their careers today.

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